Shades of Elegance. Valentino SS20 Couture

From all the couture shows this season, I (of course) anticipated Pierpaolo Piccioli‘s line-up for Valentino the most. For spring-summer 2020, a very different facet of Piccioli’s imagination transpired. The designer challenged himself to stop the operatic volumes and begin his search for a new silhouette. This time, it was structured, linear, fishtailed, modular, yet still drenched in color and pattern by turns. Looking back at the previous, ecstatic collections he dreamed up for us, he decided it was time to step off the path. “I hate it when people talk about ‘storytelling.’ I am not a storyteller. I don’t have the feeling that Cristóbal Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Charles James, Mainbocher, whatever—I don’t feel they had stories of the season.” Trusting himself to free-association meant exploring form and emotion in ways that emphasized choice, variety, and the ingenious devices that only the Valentino craftspeople are able to realize. There were more trousers, more columns than before; an interest in constructing layers in ways which only the wearer will know about. Bubbles, bows and plenty of Valentino red recurred. There was a gorgeous color palette – purple, eau de nil, scarlet, pink, mint… and black (this one looked super refined in the eveningwear section). As usual, the best.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Emotions. Valentino AW20

FKA Twigs performed live three of her brand new songs during Pierpaolo Piccioli‘s Valentino autumn-winter 2020 collection for men. Cloaked in iridescent Valentino haute couture with her face half-obscured by a crystal fencing mask, Twigs’s emotional and ethereal performance was a lot of competition to put up against the models who were walking past. Of course, nobody cares about the clothes when you’ve got an intimate concert with one of the most intriguing artists of our century in front of you. Still, when you start focusing on the looks, you see right away that this is one of the best men’s line-up coming from Piccioli. Wearing coats and jackets stamped with photo prints or embroideries of flowers are every guy’s new classic, according to Piccioli (and I completely agree with that!). The designer subtly let feminine notions into the evolving men’s wardrobe: Valentino boys carried small cross-body bags, some utility pouches, but others indistinguishable from the mini-bags on chains that have been gendered as female for generations. The closing look was the precise defintion of the designer’s vision of the new man’s style: a softly tailored suit, entirely covered in navy sequins. Incredible. “Men are changing much more quickly in the last two decades because of women”, Pierpaolo summed up.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Dream Buys in Milan

Other than lots of pasta, art and Prada, Milan is of course fashion. It’s refreshing to see brands like Thom Browne emerge in Europe and labels like Balenciaga shaking up the vision of a retail space. Here’s a little dream shopping tour in the ‘fashion quartet’ of Milan’s Brera quartet… and it’s getting even better when you know that it’s 50% discount everywhere since the beginning of January!

What shocks you the most at Balenciaga are the mannequins standing at the entrance. Or rather two human corpses, which are hyperreal wax figures of two models of the brand. They are disturbing and even spooky. But it’s Demna Gvasalia’s world, so there’s no such thing as „basic”.

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Of course, Bottega Veneta is the busiest store in Milan. I overheard two women literally killing themselves for the last pair of block pumps in blue. That’s the Daniel Lee factor standing behind the brand’s accessories. Still, my heart belongs to the orange intrecciato shoulder bag.

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Off to the mountains for the holidays but still need a ball gown? The Moncler x Pierpaolo Piccioli duvet coat-dress is the only option.

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While everybody went crazy for the Mickey Mouse capsule that hit all the Gucci stores that day, I went mad for this faux fur coat. So dramatic.

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The killer heeled boots from Rick Owens. Not sure if they are made for walking, but they will elevate any silhouette. And those amazingly draped gowns in burgundy… they look incredible.

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Thom Browne’s preppy tailoring and quirky elegance is expanding in Europe. The Milan store – kept in the brand’s signature retro office style – is filled with Thom’s classics, as well as his fashion show garments (like the blazer with Una Troubridge intarsia illustration). My favourite item? The puppy slides.

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Loewe! The details! The William de Morgan capsule! Too many things to love.

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Jil Sander’s soft minimalism is always appealing. And it’s even better when styled with those calf hair wedge boots.

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.